It’s been a productive past few months for the ever-growing Austin food scene while you've continued to wrestle with the ubiquitous question: "Where should we go?" Luckily, there are a handful of new spots to add to your food and drink repertoire that run the gamut from lunch with co-workers to uber-fancy date nights. If local quail, cocktails on tap, and Bobby Brown-inspired pierogies pique your interest, check out the following 10 spots:
Odd Duck (click here for address and deets)
Arguably the most anticipated opening since Qui, Odd Duck carved out a name and fan base for itself via its modest, repurposed-truck-in-a-rocky-lot beginnings. Now set within a modern-yet-cozy glass housing, the cuisine is local, seasonal, and inspired -- courtesy of Bryce Gilmore (also responsible for the wildly popular Barley Swine). We suggest going with a group and sharing dishes such as the spicy boudin grits with pickled shrimp and fried pig skin, and their heavenly pink beet panna cotta with Meyer lemon mousse and lavender honey.
laV (click here for address and deets)
You can credit laV’s impressive team for bringing "refined-but-rustic" French to the East Side. From the complimentary valet, to the "robust wine program", to the menu of contemporary, Provence-inspired classics, laV has impressed those lucky enough to have visited in the short time they’ve been open. Try the Wood Oven Bouillabaisse with squid, clams, and blue prawn, and follow up with this tasty-looking Meyer Lemon Cream pictured above.
Due Forni (click here for info and address)
Setting up shop in the heart of 6th Street in the historic Littlefield Building is Due Forni, a casual pizza and wine joint. The retro spaghetti Westerns being shown are great, but the real stars of this show are the dual pizza ovens (sorry, Clint Eastwood) -- one Roman, for a cracker-thin crust, and one Neapolitan, for a softer, heartier bread.
Half Step (click here for info and address)
Dark and cozy with outstanding classic cocktails, Half Step is a cool, Art Deco-inspired haven amongst the bro-tastic bustle of Rainey Street. They even have a special ice shed dedicated to freezing and cutting their own custom ice. You’ll know you’re there when you see the glowing sign with the emblazoned script that reads: "you earned it."
Garage (click here for info and address)
Garage is a high-design, craft cocktail bar nestled within the actual parking garage of the historic Starr Building in what used to be the valet station. The look and feel is decidedly mid-century modern. Mixologist Chauncey James, of East Side Show Room and Volstead fame, is the bar manager responsible for the spot-on modern classic cocktails, such as the Japanese Cowboy, a blend of Yamazaki, lime, and orgeat.
The Silo on 7th (click here for info and address)
Housed in a former tortilla factory, Silo on 7th broke ground more than two years ago and recently (finally!) opened as a burger, local craft beer, and liquor hangout. Affordable burgers (like the Attayac, a bison burger with bleu cheese and wing sauce), a badass rooftop, and a parking lot make this a go-to for a chill meal on the East Side.
Container Bar (click here for info and address)
Once referred to, by a very wise man, as the white whale of Rainey, Container Bar has been in development for a looong time -- three years to be exact. At last, bar maven Bridget Dunlap’s stacked shipping container creation is finally very open for business. Its first bit of action was during SXSW where rows of people could be seen sipping drinks from the balcony of the multicolored structure.
Porter Gastropub (click here for address and deets)
South Austin just got a cool new neighborhood haunt in Porter Gastropub, with 30 beers on tap and refined bar food. Their menu boasts a Porter Burger with triple cream Brie and crispy pancetta, but we’re craving the cheekily named My Pieroghetive -- Polish pierogies filled with yukon potato, farmers cheese, and served with dill sour cream.
The Hightower (click here for address and deets)
Chef Chad Dolezal and co-owner Victor Farnsworth of the now-closed El Arbol have done something unheard of -- they’ve made New American affordable. Located just a hop and a skip from Downtown, this East 7th spot (that also JUST launched weekend brunch) is already getting great reviews. On our must-try list: Roasted Pork Jowl with rice, egg yolk, avocado, cucumber, pickled shallots, and house Sriracha.
Blackbird and Henry (click here for address and deets)
Move over sandwich and burrito joints, Blackbird and Henry are bringing an upscale neighborhood tavern to the Campus area. Sleek, cool grey interiors, raw bar offerings, and an impressive wine program make this a standout eatery -- but don’t get the wrong idea, there’s a lot of meat on this menu. Try the Chargrilled Ribeye Steak "909", with buttery mash and a chile poblano sofrito with a gin and tonic (straight from the tap).
1. Blackbird and Henry3016 Guadalupe St, Austin
2. Odd Duck1201 S Lamar Blvd, Austin
3. laV1501 East 7th St, Austin
4. Due Forni106 E Sixth St, Austin
5. Half Step75 1/2 Rainey St, Austin
6. Garage503 Colorado St, Austin
7. The Silo on 7th1300 E 7th St, Austin
8. Container Bar90 Rainey St, Austin
9. Porter Gastropub3715 S 1st St Ste A, Austin
10. The Hightower1209 E 7th St, Austin
Blackbird and Henry are bringing a touch of class to the Campus area with this upscale neighborhood tavern.
Communal seating, an expansive patio, and an open kitchen (the view is best from the bar) abet in the casual atmosphere at Odd Duck -- a second concept from the team behind Barley Swine -- on South Lamar Boulevard. Antithetical to its atmosphere, Odd Duck's menu features upscale, intricate dishes inspired by the daily pick at the local farmer's market, and thus the menu shifts with the Texan seasons. Odd Duck features craft cocktails, craft beer, and wine to pair with its flavor- and ingredient-forward dishes. If you happen upon the pimento cheeseburger, get it.
An impressive wine list, intriguing dishes like Wood Oven Bouillabaisse with squid, clams, and blue prawn, and a complimentary valet make laV the ideal spot to go when you want to feel like a celebrity... then treat yourself to a Meyer Lemon Cream and feel like a slightly larger celebrity.
Due Forni is a casual pizza and wine spot where you can watch spaghetti Westerns and choose between pies from one of two ovens -- a Roman oven turning out thin and crispy-crusted 'zas, and another Neapolitan oven making a thicker, softer bread.
The inside of the little blue house that is Half Step is dark and lined in tea-stained wall paper. Cool off with one of the meticulously crafted cocktails, like the NOLA-born Sazerac (rye whiskey, sugar, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe rinse), and remember what the glowing sign that greets you on the way in says: "You earned it."
One of the most exciting drink menus in Austin is also one of the most hidden. Keep your eyes peeled as you head to dark, industrial Garage: it's tucked inside the parking garage on Colorado and marked by a turquoise neon sign. Feeling something citrus-y and herbal? Go for the Indian Paintbrush (vodka, grapefruit, lime, rosemary). Looking to go bold? Consider trying the Forked Tongue (sotol, jalapeno, lime, green chartreuse, saline).
The Silo has super affordable burgers and brews (like Deep Ellum) that you can enjoy on their rooftop.
This Rainey St spot lives up to its name, made of repurposed and stacked shipping containers with an awesome series of multi-level outdoor decks. Check out some live music or just enjoy a cocktail in the open air.
Porter Gastropub brings everything you could possibly want to South First -- 30 drafts, burgers with Brie, and pierogies.
The dishes at High Tower -- a friendly neighborhood spot in East Austin -- run the gamut from Tex-Mex to Asian, and though their flavor and presentation could compete with the best of Austin's white-hot culinary scene, they're still affordable enough to order any night of the week, not just for special occasions. Grab a spot on the outdoor patio and try the ever-popular and comforting roasted pork jowl, a Korean hot pot filled with rice, egg yolk, cucumber, pickled shallots, and house Sriracha. Another favorite? Grilled scallops with avocado and grapefruit.